Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

Sex abuse victims urged to come forward


Police suspect dozens of boys may have been abused during hypnotic “prayer” sessions at a top NSW boarding school.

St Stanislaus’ College at Bathurst, in central west NSW, is reeling after 13 former students alleged sexual abuse by staff during from the 1970s and into the early 1980s.

A 65-year-old former priest is facing 33 charges, after allegations a pedophile ring of priests and staff operated at the school, which has both boarders and day students.

He was charged on May 23 with offences relating to sexual assault and gross acts of indecency of boys aged between 10 and 18 years old, police said.

The shocking revelations on Wednesday prompted one former student to tell his story of abuse at the school in 1971, for which he eventually received an out-of-court settlement.

The man, who asked only to be known as “John”, said he was sexually abused three times in April 1971 by a priest who left St Stanislaus’ a few years later.

“I still remember it,” John told AAP.

“I carry that stench on my back ever since the day it happened.

“I was a day boy and I was not the only victim back then.”

In the mid-1990s, he contacted the Vincentian order of priests, which run the school and operate separately from the Bathurst Catholic diocese.

He eventually settled out of court for just over $40,000.

He said criminal proceedings against the priest never went past the committal hearing due to lack of evidence.

Currently, 615 boys attend St Stanislaus’, of which 188 are borders.

St Stanislaus’ principal John Edwards said he first became aware of the allegations “several years ago” and referred the claims to police.

“The college received some internet material which contained allegations that I think are linked to the ones that are currently taking place,” he told Fairfax Radio Network.

“Those matters were referred to the police some years ago.”

He said the material included claims of late night prayer and chanting sessions in which boys were sexually abused.

Mr Edwards said the school was served with a search warrant on July 3 which stated the names of three former staff members.

“I’m not able to comment any further,” Mr Edwards said.

Police have released scant information but want other victims of alleged abuse to contact them.

However, they would not confirm reports the abused students were hypnotised and drugged.

“All I can say is that the NSW Police Force will be providing every form of support we possibly can to make the process for them as trouble-free as possible,” Detective Superintendent Michael Goodwin told reporters in Sydney.

Supt Goodwin would not reveal how many suspects were being investigated, but said none still worked at the school.

“I can confirm that there’s no one at the school at the moment that is subject to that inquiry,” he said.

“At this stage, we’re looking at 13 victims and we’re following up those lines of inquiry at the moment.”

A spokeswoman for the Bathurst diocese would not comment, saying the Vincentian priests operates separately from the diocese.

A spokesman for the Sydney archdiocese said Cardinal George Pell would not comment because Bathurst lies outside his jurisdiction.

Father Ian McGinnity, chairman of the National Council of Priests of Australia, said great care was taken at boarding schools, but sex abuse remained in all parts of society.

“It still doesn’t take away the unfortunate reality of human nature,” Fr McGinnity told AAP.

“There are people who sometimes have sicknesses in psycho-sexual arenas and that happens whether they’re priests or lay people.”

The office of Vincentian priests at Bathurst and their provincial office in Sydney did not comment when contacted.

August 27, 2008 - Posted by | Australia, Bankrupt Churches, Sex Abuse

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